How to Protect Your Devices From Getting Hacked

Published January 2nd, 2022 - 07:00 GMT
How to Protect Your Devices From Getting Hacked
A graphic of antivirus software running.

If you own a phone or computer then at some point you have probably worried about losing your information or your device getting hacked. Well, look no further if that rings true for you because we’ll be going over advice on how to protect your devices from getting hacked.

What is Hacking

Protect Your Devices From Getting Hacked

First things first: if we’re going to talk about how to protect your devices from getting hacked we need to clarify what hacking actually means.

Simply put, hacking is the act of gaining unauthorized access to someone’s data in a system or device.

Hacking can come in many forms but one thing to understand is that it’s not what you might imagine based off movies or TV shows. There’s no hooded figure furiously typing code away trying to break into your computer or account (like in the picture above).

If your data or device have ever been compromised chances are high that you bit on a “hack” that relied on human error. I.e., you clicked on something you shouldn’t have or you downloaded something that put a virus on your device.

These human-targeted hacks are typically called phishing attempts, and while they’re not complicated attacks from a mysterious hacker, they are extremely common and something you should watch out for.

Phishing

Protect Your Devices From Getting Hacked

We went over phishing in a similar article about securing your online accounts, but the most common examples of phishing are emails impersonating your bank, social media platform or someone you might know.

The emails will ask some sort of action of you whether it’s clicking the link, downloading the attachment, going to the website or calling the phone number.

The goal is to confuse you or make you believe that what you’re receiving is legitimate.

Always be paranoid of such emails and double check that what you’re receiving is from a trusted source before moving forward.

If you avoid phishing attempts you’ll be taking a very effective precaution to protect your devices from getting hacked.

Viruses

Protect Your Devices From Getting Hacked

But what happens if you do fall for a phishing attempt and your device gets compromised? What should you do?

There’s a lot to consider there but for simplicity’s sake let’s assume that none of your passwords or personal information were stolen, you just downloaded an attachment from an email and now there’s a virus on your device.

You might be getting all sorts of pop ups from the virus saying things like pay them money or face the consequences, but whatever you do don’t panic and definitely don’t listen to whatever crap it’s directing you to do.

If you have antivirus software installed on your device, as most do, disconnect your device from the internet so the virus can’t send or receive information and start running a virus scan.

Usually, the virus scan will detect and remove whatever junk got put on your device. And better yet if the option is available, boot your device up without networking and then run the scan.

But if the virus is something nasty or the virus scan/removal software didn’t get the job done, don’t worry. You can follow the last resort of wiping your device completely and reinstalling its operating system.

Wiping your device will scrub it clean of everything installed (the virus and your files included) and leave it like new.

If you need any help with this process a computer repair company should be able to assist no problem, and if your device is company-owned then your IT department will be the one to contact.

Just be sure that if you do go this route, you don’t try to pull any files off your compromised device.

There’s no telling what all the virus has infected and any files you transfer from your infected machine to another could risk infecting that machine as well.

Always back up your important files to a separate storage location for scenarios exactly like this one, and remember these tips if you want to protect your devices from getting hacked.


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